High Country Pathway trip in May

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High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby johanssont » April 2nd, 2018, 2:26 pm

Me and a friend are planning a trip to HCP in May and I am looking for local knowledge. Plan is to ride half of it one day and complete it the next. Camp somewhere along the trail. Is this realistic or is there a lot of hike a bike sections?
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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby bleve » April 5th, 2018, 2:28 pm

May could be a good time, but you could still have some good mud. At least you should beat the growth of the ferns. I've only backpacked half of it in August and remember the fern overgrowth was definitely an issue (and the thorns that they hid). Other than that you may encounter the leftover's of winter deadfall as they may not be cleaned up yet (there was plenty in August when we went). I've ridden the Shingle Mill Pathway several times and I always enjoy that ride.

I'm curious about trying this as well and figured the Canada Creek shelter would be a good camping spot as you could forgo a tent and carry a little less. And if I recall it wasn't even that far from a road so you could probably stash your camping supplies near or at the shelter and ride mostly unencumbered if you chose to.
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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby sisu » April 8th, 2018, 4:12 pm

https://youtu.be/m7asVIvicQo HCP bikepacking vid

Report back if you ride it. Depending on how it has been maintained lately, it could be a blast or a punch in the throat. There used to be a couple threads on the HCP on this forum, not sure they still exist or are searchable, but give it a try. If you are on Facebook post on the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association’s page. Someone there is sure to know who has ridden it recently or at least last fall.


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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby ChrisW3st » April 8th, 2018, 5:08 pm

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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby Nelg » April 19th, 2018, 3:32 pm

I wouldn't even consider May this year.

There is going to be lots of snow damage this year delaying maintenance efforts. The Pigeon river forest saw 24 to 36" of heavy wet snow, it's bent half the white pine saplings over and play havoc with other species. It's also delayed our expected end of April start of trail clean up. The north section from M33 to Pine Grove campground will be a swamp until at least mid May if we get relatively light amounts of rain. If it's a wet spring, end of May at best.

NMMBA Trail work dates are TBD at this point, but the trail is going to be a good hike, but not a good ride until it dries out and has a whole lot of trees pulled from it.

Second or third weekend in June will have tall ferns, but will be the driest, and the most clear from deadfall and saplings.
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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby mdkuni » April 30th, 2018, 8:33 am

Rode last September from Sturgeon Valley Rd clockwise until I was a mile or two past Clear Lake campground. I counted about 230 trees down in 55 miles. The section from the Black River to the shelter had the most trees down. It was a 12hr journey for me. I was also thinking of heading up there in a few weeks to try and ride it again. As Nelg said though, Pine Grove to 33 tends to be muddy and is my main concern. It is hard to find the best time to ride the HCP. You go too early and it is too wet, after the wet season the bugs will carry you away and the ferns consume the trail. What a great place to ride though, a true mountain bike adventure!
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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby johanssont » April 30th, 2018, 7:35 pm

Thanks everyone! Based on the feedback we pushed the trip back to June 15-17. Hoping to time it between the trail maintenance and Ferns. You are welcome to join kuni, couple of older guys in no hurry, 40 miles a day is the plan.
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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby mdkuni » May 1st, 2018, 11:27 am

johanssont wrote:Thanks everyone! Based on the feedback we pushed the trip back to June 15-17. Hoping to time it between the trail maintenance and Ferns. You are welcome to join kuni, couple of older guys in no hurry, 40 miles a day is the plan.


Thanks for the offer. If it was Fall I may have taken you up on it. One trip in June at the HCP resulted in me pulling off about 75 ticks over the course of a couple days and the most mosquito's I have ever encountered in my life. Laying in my hammock at night pulling ticks out of my hair and not being able to out pedal the mosquito's is a true character building experience. I swore off riding there in June ever again. I know that it all depends on the year, and I am sure some summers are not that bad, but that was an experience to remember!
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Re: High Country Pathway trip in May

Postby mdkuni » May 14th, 2018, 10:44 am

Rode the HCP this past Saturday. Started at Camp 30 rd and pulled the plug at the Black River bridge 4.3 miles before the shelter (riding clockwise). Was roughly 57 miles, than another 6 or so miles of dirt road back. There continues to be an enormous amount of downed trees. Lots of mud on the northern sections as well. Those two things drained my energy pretty quick. Got to hang out with an Elk heard in the AM which is always an incredible experience! Time to step up my riding and try again in the Fall. There is a bridge out at the Black River by the Town Corner Campground. This caused me to hop on dirt road and take a 5 mile detour. Something to plan for as the bridge is completely gone. No getting through unless you are going swimming with your bike. No bugs during the trip but found a tick the next day. It would be great to have this trail cleaned up but at 80 miles it is no easy task. With no trees down, ride time would be reduced drastically.
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